Saturday, April 13, 2013

Love My 'Lisalex!

 Ta daaaa - my Elisalex dress!

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane? No?? What then?
I'm sure you've already heard / seen for yourself the gorgeous By Hand London patterns - such a delectation compared to the Big 4! The Elisalex dress pattern comes in a pretty blue box, and includes a By Hand London label to stitch into your dress, the pattern tissue and an instruction booklet. The instructions were a bit sparser than I'd expected, but were really nicely illustrated - and it's not a complex construction so most of us wouldn't need more details. The pattern tissue is very lightweight and includes all sizes, but I found the print lines for the different sizes hard to distinguish.



I think you can tell... I like this one!

Finished about 2 weeks ago, then waited for ideal weather, and procrastinated on ideal locations. And after all that you're getting the same late afternoon balcony shots as usual and an unimpressive skyline - sorry!
 

I like the front view of the dress. I was aiming for very fitted in the bodice, but went a bit far with fitting in the bust - too tight! It's good to see how the other half lives occasionally isn't it?  The waist looks but doesn't feel too tight.



oops -  pulling it



Side view - and yes, you can walk in a tulip skirt!



There IS TOO room for striding

I don't know what my fabric is apart from an interesting Tessuti remnant, but it's definitely man made and unforgiving. Lots of mean puckering when I tried to speed up the seams, and any unpicked stitches left permanent scars. Plus I don't think it likes being ironed... On the plus side it's quite a glam fabric and quite a strong one, and the dress can pretty much stand up on its own if I run out of coat hangers or something. And I love that it holds the exaggerated skirt shape so well!  On the negative side the back view of the dress is not great - I inserted a hand picked zip but the fabric was really tough on my hand sewing needle and I must have been pulling the threads too tight. I may go back and redo this...what a mess!








I'm a bit shocked to tell you this was my first ever purchased independent pattern. Accordingly I was pretty cautious: I meaured the paper pattern (as well as myself) and made a muslin before attacking the real fabric. But the fit of my calico muslin was so different to the fit in my fashion fabric though that I had to make lots of new adjustments in the fashion fabric. \ ^..^ / 

Starting with the paper pattern, I used the sizes recommended based on my measurements. The skirt pattern pieces looked terrifically long so I measured them against myself before removing 10cm (I'm about 173cm tall, with most of my length below the waist, so I guess the pattern is designed for very, very leggy ladies...). To keep the exciting tulip shape I took this length out about 2/3 of the way down the skirt, in the section where the tulip was starting to narrow.  Interestingly the hem turn up doesn't get factored into the side seam shaping - so I took in / reshaped the side seams from hem level to about 15cm above the hems to avoid having to create hemline pleats.

In muslining the bodice I only made a very minor reshaping of the princess seams to fit my (smaller) bust. However in the very unyielding fashion fabric I had excess fabric above my bust and at the sides of my bust. To correct these issues I shifted the centre bodice piece upwards slightly against the side bodice pieces, and to made deep side darts which I then rotated into the princess seam going into the arm scye. These cunning moves worked reasonably well (although the bodice now looks too tight), but affected the front bodice shape of the arm holes. Luckily I didn't have to do any post muslin adjustments in the back.


Overall I'm really happy with this dress pattern and I am definitely thinking to make it again - with sleeves and a bit more ease. Love my 'Lisalex!





16 comments:

  1. A little black dress is always a wardrobe staple. It is a shame the zip didn't work out because the dress is lovely.

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    1. The zip is really embarrassing - I should not have zips looking like that these days! One step forwards, two steps back...

      Hey I've just been reading back through your March blog posts Andrea; you have been such a prolific sewist (and of course it is all looking beautifully made too).

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  2. I like your new dress so much! You wear the tulip skirt really well. Never tried those patterns before, I´ll go check.
    Balcony shots are fine! Are you joining the MMM13?

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    1. Thanks Merche, it's quite a flattering shape - makes the torso look slimmer and hides the curves below the waist :-).

      I want to do MMM13 but I don't think I can manage the photography this time around. I have just moved to a new office (yesterday) and it's a very ugly area of Sydney... so I haven't signed up yet. I'm trying to decide whether photos of clothes on the floor is going to satisfy me or not! Are you joining in this year?

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  3. Oh this is lovely. Really gorgeous. I just finished my elisalex too, just about to get some pics. I'm with you on the love. It was a great pattern to sew. I really like how you shaped your skirt by taking off the length midway to keep the tulip shape.

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    1. Right back atcha! Yours is lovely too - a beautiful fit and such a sweet fabric.

      That's a funny story about the bedroom photos; I could just imagine! Whenever I'm taking photos I absolutely cross my fingers that no one knocks on the door and that the neighbours stay inside.

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  4. The silhouette is wonderful on you :) Love it!

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    1. Aw thanks Melanie!

      Have you just had Sewcie-Tea today, or is it tomorrow? I so wish I could have been part of it! I am so looking forward to seeing the final version of that gorgeous concoction you were working on... hope it came together smoothly despite those pesky work hours / commitments!

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  5. Ooooh I like it! I have heard so much talk about this pattern and I see why. It's a really lovely shape and looks great on you!

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    1. Thank you Jillian!

      It is a lovely pattern, and all the dresses I've seen so far look amazing! I am really keen to make it again - I have all these ideas in my head for future versions: brocade, wintery ponte, pieces of raw silk mixed together, stretch patterned cotton, floral...

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  6. Wow. Is the fabric like taffeta? I know it's mystery fabric but it adds to the unique beauty of your dress. Gorgeous.

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    1. Yes, it's like taffeta, but it's thicker and denser than taffeta I've seen - really it would have suited a formal opera coat (does anyone wear those these days?). I have a good amount left over that might make a jacket, come to think of it! The fabric also seems to have a direction to it; I cut the bodice at 90 degrees to the skirt to get a different reflectiveness from top and bottom (it's probably not noticeable). Thanks, but I do wish I could have got it fitting better!

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  7. Hi Gabrielle, - it is a gorgeous, classic LBD, and especially good if you have the curves below the waist! Its frustrating learning how all the different fabrics perform, so all things considered you have done well. It does look like a taffeta type of fabric, especially if it has a "direction" to it. I can see what you mean by the zip, but the photo is in good daylight - I suspect at night, and when everyone is busy, it won't be noticeable to others (yes, I know, but as a sewer, that's not how you feel about it!). I've never used an independant company, so will look up By Hand London.

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  8. Superb!!!! I just ordered the pattern and hope to make it in a black cotton brocade. Yours is sensational!
    Now, where the heck am I going to wear such a lovely dress!?
    I also ordered the skirt pattern and agree wholeheartedly, how pleasant to depart from the Big 4!
    Thank you for the review.

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